A trademark typically protects names, words, slogans and symbols that identify a business or brand and distinguishes it from others. Trademarks include brand names such as "Apple".
- Avoid costly trademark conflicts before you apply
- Before you spend time and money applying for a trademark, make sure the mark is available.
If you're currently using or plan to use a trademark, it's always a good idea to see if there are similar marks that could be confused with yours, or might affect your ability to use and protect your trademark. If there are potentially confusing trademarks already registered, those could affect your chances of registering your own mark. Also, if there are any potentially confusing marks already in use by businesses—even marks that haven't been registered—these could affect your ability to register or use your trademark.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is a search of trademark databases enough to uncover a possible conflict?
Not necessarily. In some cases, someone may have trademark rights simply by being the first to use a trademark in commerce—neither registration is required for common law rights. Someone with common law rights can challenge your use or registration of your trademark.
For these reasons, it's a good idea to check beyond state registries, such as registered corporate names and use on the internet.
What are trademark classes?
When you apply for trademark registration, you must identify the class of goods or services that your trademark covers. It's important to choose the right class, because if you get it wrong, you may not be able to register a trademark. And if you do manage to register for the wrong class, you can't change your registration later to name a different one, or to switch from a good to a service.
A comprehensive trademark search can help you identify trademark classes where a mark similar to yours may already be in use.
How do I choose a trademark class?
It depends on many factors. You can talk to our professional team to help you decide.
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